SAP APO: Time to tame your master data

Posted by Chandra Shaktawat on 05-May-2019 06:00:00

Master data is an important pre-requisite for achieving good planning results. Like any other system, a successful SAP Advanced Planning & Optimisation (APO) implementation relies on having good quality master data. When projects go-live we always get good results but over a period of time, the quality of results tend to deteriorate due to poor master data hygiene. This is especially true when the SKU churn is significant and the supply chain networks are large.

In this blog, I will outline the features of the Master Data Check Tool developed by Olivehorse.

Download Optimise your Optimiser Report

Our Olivehorse master data check tool

Some companies implement user exits to default a lot of master data fields if the rules are relatively simple. But this is often quite rigid and it is not easy to update the rules in the user exit with constantly evolving business rules. Companies often use ABAP reports or some third party software like Cransoft to check their master data but most of them are quite inflexible and do not provide a way to manage the rules at various levels like product type, location, location type, Planner Code etc.

Olivehorse has developed a highly agile master data check tool for SAP APO which gets integrated with Microsoft Excel as an Add-in (appears as a Ribbon). The Add-in communicates with SAP APO and performs master data checks and outputs a check report giving a complete summary of master data values and its correctness.

Screenshot 2019-04-28 at 11.05.26

Key features


Selection based on any field:  The master data check tool lets you select the master data based on any field from Product Master including custom fields. As an example, if you want to select/filter master data by ‘Brand’ which could be a custom or Z field, it lets you add such fields to a simple configuration table and simply make a selection from Excel using these fields.

Screenshot 2019-04-28 at 11.06.08

Below is the selection screen from Excel using the fields set in the configuration.

Screenshot 2019-04-28 at 11.06.51

Multiple Checks/Rules: The tool lets you compare the values of the master data fields against a fixed value, a pattern or between a range. It supports any product master field including custom or Z fields. It can also check whether the field is maintained or not maintained (missing) and it can also simply report the field as information.

User Defined Location Types: APO comes with standard location types such as 1001 (Factory), 1002 (DC), 1011(Vendor) etc. However, these location types often are not consistent with business terminology. As an example, a DC which is just 1002 in APO could be called as Primary DC, Secondary DC, Regional Warehouse, Mother Depot, Branch and so on. The master data settings can be different for different business locations. The tool lets you define your own location type which is meaningful to the business and then perform checks at such location types.

 Screenshot 2019-04-28 at 11.07.33

Hierarchy of Checks: Each master data field is normally relevant to a different level like location, location type, SNP Planner, Product Type (FG, SFG) etc. As an example, the fair-share rule for all factories could be ‘A’ but it could be a different value for all DCs. And then there could be exceptions such as a certain factory has a fair-share rule ‘C’ instead of ‘A’. Similarly, the storage cost could be a value X for FGs and a value Y for SFGs. The tool lets you define checks at various levels and a hierarchy is used when deciding the check to be applied.

The hierarchy considers the most detailed level as the relevant check to be applied if there are multiple rules for a given field. Hierarchy used by the tool is SNP Planner > Location > Location Type > Generic.

Given below is a simple configuration table where such rules can be defined in no time. This configuration table can be maintained by the users directly in Production Environment and can be controlled using authorisation. Roles controlling these authorisations are provided as part of the tool.

Screenshot 2019-04-28 at 11.10.02

There is a similar logic for Transportation Lanes where rules can be defined for T-Lane fields.

Final output and benefits

The Excel add-in triggers the checks and delivers a check report like below showing the data highlighted in different colours depending on the correctness of values as per the rules. The colours themselves can be chosen in the excel using a colour palette which is part of the Add-in.

Screenshot 2019-04-28 at 11.10.40

In the same way, the output for T-Lanes contains the transportation lanes fields coloured according to its rules as per the colour legend.

Screenshot 2019-04-28 at 11.11.09

This tool is an excellent driver of master data cleanliness KPIs and helps in achieving continuous improvement in the master data. This tool has been designed with flexibility as its core principle letting the user choose the data and build the rules that they want. The tool extracts data and compares against the rules in real time and this can be run by the end users whenever they want. The tool is very fast in performance and there is virtually no wait time for the results to be displayed.

Olivehorse has successfully implemented this tool at multiple APO clients and it has helped their master data governance process immensely.

There is a future upgrade planned for this tool which will also enable master data correction using the Excel Interface making master data maintenance extremely quick and convenient. 

The technical part


This tool is packaged as a ‘out of the box’ software and requires minimal effort in terms of implementation and installation. It comes with a packaged transport request containing the transactions and code required on the APO side which can be imported straight into your landscape. There is some minimal configuration required to enable communication between APO and the outside world (Excel) using web services technology. The front-end Excel Add-in is delivered as an installable Windows file.

Get in touch


If you would like to see a demonstration of the tool or would like to inquire further, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Chandra Shaktawat

Principal Consultant - Olivehorse Consulting

Download Optimise your Optimiser Report

Read more on: SAP APO, SCM Master Data, Olivehorse Add-in